DU, Cluster Bombs, and Landmine Working Group


Peter Barus
John Wilkes

CONTACT:  duworkgroup@proton.me 


This VFP working group condemns all use of antipersonnel mines, cluster munitions, and uranium weapons by any actor, under any circumstance.


In furtherance of our Mission we work to:

  • End production, sales, trafficking, storage, testing, and use of all landmines, uranium weapons, and cluster bombs - weapons known to have lasting harmful radioactive, poisonous, and explosive effects on public health and our living world, prolonging the effects of war indefinitely;
  • Support and encourage banning of munitions made from radioactive and toxic heavy metals, landmines and cluster bombs; 
  • Raise awareness and knowledge of the nature and consequences of these weapons through any venue, e.g. conferences, public demonstrations, books, articles, pamphlets, discussion groups and the arts.
  • Encourage all non-member States to accede to:
    • The (2008) Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM);
    • The (1997) Mine Ban Treaty (MBT);  
    • U.N. Resolution of effects of the use of armaments and ammunition containing uranium.

This VFP Working Group will seek legal application of U.N. Humanitarian Law and military Rules of Engagement as a means to international oversight and enforcement, whether Convention signatories or not.



U.S. Depleted Uranium to Make Ukraine War Dirtier, By John LaForge, Counterpunch, June 30,2023

The U.S. is sending DEPLETED URANIUM shells to Ukraine, to be used with the Abrams tanks it is also supplying.

Classified: The Secret Radiation Files - BY KATE BROWN Nov 24, 2023

Scientific Data: List of Recent Research on Depleted Uranium

ICBUW–Fact Sheet: Armaments and Ammunition containing Depleted Uranium

What Does the U.S. Government Already Know About Depleted Uranium Weapons?

Army Environmental Policy Institute (AEPI), 1995

“If depleted uranium enters the body, it has a potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with depleted uranium are both chemical and radiological.”

1993 – U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), Operation Desert Storm: Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal With Depleted Uranium Contamination, (GAO/NSIAD-93-90), Jan 1993, pp 17-18.

“Inhaled insoluble oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose a radioactive and a toxicity risk.”

U.S. Army Armament, Munitions & Chemical Command report, Kinetic Energy Penetrator Long Term Strategy Study, July 1990.

“Aerosol DU exposures to soldiers on the battlefield could be significant with potential radiological & toxicological effects.”

Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses, Final Report, Dec 1996, p.99.

“US service personnel also could have been exposed to DU if they inhaled or ingested DU dust particles during incidental contact with vehicles destroyed by DU munitions, or if they lived or worked in areas contaminated with DU dust from accidental munitions fires. Thus, unnecessary exposure of many individuals could have occurred.”

Col. Eric Daxon, Radiation Protection Staff Officer, US Army Medical Command, summarizing results of a Dec 1989 report from the Ballistic Research Laboratory, Radiological Contamination From Impacted Abrams Heavy Armor. Flisaret.al.

“Personnel in or near (less than 50m) an armored vehicle at the time these vehicles were struck by DU munitions could receive significant internal DU Exposures (i.e. those in excess of allowable standards).”

Brent Scrowcroft, former National Security Advisor to President Bush, from an executive summary: Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses, 2004 Report & Recommendations.

“Depleted Uranium is more of a problem than we thought when it was developed. But it was developed according to standards & was thought through very carefully. It turned out perhaps to be wrong.”

Annual report of the Office of the Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses: Jan 8, 1998: p29.

In January, 1998, the U.S. Dept of Defense expressed its first & only admission of responsibility for Gulf War Uranium Exposures:

“Our investigations into potential health hazards of depleted uranium point to serious deficiencies in what our troop understood about the health effects posed on the battlefield...Combat troops or those carrying out support functions generally did not know that DU contaminated equipment, such as enemy vehicles struck by DU rounds, require special handling...The failure to properly disseminate such information to troops at all levels may have resulted in thousands of unnecessary exposures.” 

DECADES of government funded investigation into the potential health and environmental effects of DU weapons are referenced above. Uranium is highly regulated precisely because its properties are indisputable, with known hazards to living systems. 
The effects of ingested DU (e.g. inhaled, shrapnel, food) by low-level radiation or chemical exposures may take years to declare as a documented disease. There is no epidemiological data on individuals potentially exposed to DU aerosols (soldiers or civilians). “No data” means no confirmed basis to cease the use of these very superior and coveted munitions, nor assume any health, legal, financial, or environmental liabilities.
As was said about Agent Orange exposure 40 years ago (a condition now recognized and compensated by the V.A.), “as far as we know it is safe.”     In May of 2003 Lt. Col. Michael Sigmon, Deputy Surgeon for the U.S. Army’s V Corps, explained to Bagdad journalists the Army’s viewpoint on DU contamination: “There is not any real danger, at least as far as we know about, for the people of Iraq.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs DU Follow-Up Program uses a study group too small to scientifically conclude anything, and uses an inferior testing method with a 180-day period of validity. This, while other available testing can detect the isotopic signature of DU more than 20 years after exposure, those skeptical of government priorities may be concerned the testing program itself may be a shield to prevent better data from emerging...data that could threaten the continued use of radiological & chemically toxic agents like DU in warfare. The main reason the government DU testing program isn’t larger is that most troops didn’t receive their required pre-deployment safety training, or required post-deployment testing so don’t know if and how they may have been exposed. Three General Accounting Office (GAO) reports in the 1990s said the same thing, “DU safety training needed”, and “troops inadequately prepared.” 
THE ABOVE COMMENTARY on our Government’s knowledge of DU was compiled by Peter Aronson, member, Veterans For Peace  ‘Depleted Uranium, Cluster Bombs, Landmines’ Working Group, and Shawn Leon, member of VFP Humboldt Bay Chapter 56.


U.N Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention -
The 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction is the international agreement that bans antipersonnel landmines. It is usually referred to as the Ottawa Convention or the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.


Project Renew
For more than 20 years, RENEW in Vietnam has been working to make Vietnam safe from the American-Vietnam War’s deadly legacies of unexploded ordinance.


A cluster munition is a weapon consisting of a container or dispenser from which many submunitions or bomblets are scattered over wide areas. Many submunitions are unreliable and fail to explode, thus creating a potential humanitarian impact on civilians both during as well as long after the conflict ends.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) prohibits under any circumstances the use, development, production, acquisition, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, as well as the assistance or encouragement of anyone to engage in prohibited activities.


Legacies of War leads the call to ban cluster munitions in the U.S. and around the globe as the Chair of the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines - Cluster Munition Coalition